Building trust with your team is like owning a bank…or having a giant bank account.
In every interaction with a team member, we are either making a trust deposit, or we are making a withdrawal. The fastest way that we can build trust with our team, with new people around us and with family and friends is to STOP taking those withdrawals. What is the biggest withdrawal we can make, the most commonly occurring withdrawal that is universal in organizations around the globe? Gossip. It is a cancer, and it destroys trust in your organization faster than a wildfire.
I want you to think about the last time someone came up to you and said, “Hey, I heard you got in an argument with somebody,” or “I heard you didn’t do a good job on that presentation or that project.” You instantly knew that people were talking about you behind your back, saying negative things about you. Additionally, if we hear someone saying something negative about someone else to us or others, we know that he or she is going to talk that way about us when we leave the room.
Gossip is saying something negative about someone to anyone who is not part of the problem or is going to be part of the solution. Let’s say that I’m a good worker and you have had good experiences with me, but you hear from someone else that my reports aren’t very good. Although this information is unfounded, a seed has been planted and you begin to double-check all of my work… Your productivity has just been reduced by 10 to 14 hours per week per person. 20-25% of your organization’s time has now been impacted by gossip.
Now multiply that by 100 employees, and you will see the havoc gossip will wreak on your bottom line, not to mention morale. Think about this the next time someone comes up to you to talk about somebody else and you know that you are not part of the problem or part of the solution. Take the time to evaluate how you have responded to gossip in the past, and what changes you can make now.
Do you solicit gossip? Do you talk about great ideas, or do you talk about people? Do you let others talk to you about other people? When people share something with you about another person, do you repeat it to others? When we can break the gossip habit, we can change an organization in a culture almost overnight.
The next time someone walks up to you and says, “Hey, did you hear this thing about Jim? Let me tell you what I just heard.” Make your new response this: “Hey, have you talked to Jim about that? It would be best if you had a conversation directly with Jim before I get involved. If you need help after you have had a conversation with Jim, I’d be happy to assist.” Not only will you stop gossip in your organization, you will build massive trust with the people around you. And you will model how to build trust with otherteam members. We can create an extraordinary culture so that we are at our best and we are helping others be at their best. We can make a huge impact in our organizations, our relationships and the world when we make this one vital pivot.